The Religious A priori

Women And Christianity

Neither Male Nor Female:

II.The Curse On Eve?

Page 2

I will mulitply thy conception

With the word "conception," part of the alledged curse (pain in childbirth) we find the same consonental drift. The problem is that Hebrew, beign orignally written only in consonants, can be easily misconstrued. In this case the word for conception Has been confussed with another word.

Bushnell, par 121 of Lesson 15:

The "sentence," I will multiply . . . thy conception," has wrought terrible havoc with the health and happiness of wives; because, so read it has been understood to rob woman of the right to determine when she should become a mother, and to place that right outside her will, and in abeyance to the will of her husband, --at least, the law has been read thus, because of its connection with what follows in this passage. This word is spelled, in Hebrew HRN,--but that is not the correct Hebrew way to spell "conception." The latter occurs, and correctly spelled, in Ruth 4:13 and Hosea 9:11, and nowhere else. The real word, "conception," as it occurs in the above passages, is spelled HRJWN. This word in Genesis comes two letters short of spelling the word. All Hebrew scholars know this. For instance, Spurrell says: "It is an abnormal formation which occurs nowhere else in the Old Testament." Our highest lexical authorities (Brown, Briggs and Driver) call it a "contraction, or erroneous." Indeed! and is one half the human family to be placed at the mercy of the other half, on such a flimsy claim as this! So could Rehoboam have sent a man to the gallows, instead of sending him to gaol, by such a method of manipulating the law. We stand for our rights, as women, on the assurance of our Lord, that no word in Divine law has lost any of its consonants, or angles of a consonant; and on our Lord's promise we can demand a very different rendering of the word. While it is possible that the W of this word might be omitted in this particular formation, the J is a consonant of the root, and cannot be lost or omitted, particularly at the end of a phrase where the voice pauses or rests for awhile upon it; such is the Hebrew rule in an instance like this. The Septuagint gives the correct reading here, which is, "thy sighing,"--the whole sentence meaning, then, "A snare hath increased thy sorrow and thy sighing." Many ancient authorities agree with the Septuagint.

Thou Art Turning

Bushnell's view: "The correct interpretation of the last part should be rendered, Thou art turning away [from God] to thy husband, and he will rule over thee. In other words, when Eve turned away from God in the fall, she set a course for women in all history. God did not make men to rule over women, but when sin entered in and rebellion and ignorance followed, women lost their freedom..."
Bushnell argues that Adam sinned willfully, while Eve was decieved. Both should have known not to eat the fruit. Modern women also carry the mark of the fall thrrough their decent form Adam as well as Eve. Yet it is not Eve upo whose shoulders the the responsiblity rests for the fall. Paul never sticks the woman with the fault of brining sin into the world. In Romans5he says clearly "through one man sin entered the world." The curse on Eve is pain in childbirth; the bit about desiring her husband is not the curse, but the consequences that would follow.

That part of the passage "your desire shall be to your husband" is not written i the imprative. The prhase "he will rule over you" is not imperative. It is not a command. It is a pridiction of the consequences of Eve's attitude after the fall. The phrase should not be translatted "he shallrule..." but "he will rule..." (predictive not a command). This is the unique thing about Bushnell's argument, and no one else argues this. She turns the term "desire" into the phrase turning. So rather than saying "your desire shall be to your husband," Bushnell renders it thou art turning to thy husband, and he will rule over thee.

The "rule" part is not imparative, not a comand. It is a prediction. According to Bushnell the woman will turn away from trusting God and turn to her husband, and that would allow him to rule over her. Some modern Evangelical feminists and Egalitarians see the motivation of Eve as less a matter of drifting away from God and more a matter reading out to Adam as a result of the pain in childbirth. After all, the warning about turning comes right on the heals of havinig been told about the pain in childbirth. In either case, Bushnell's reading is possible thanks to her scholarly work on the word translated as desire. That word is Teshuqa.

Teshuqa = Turning

Bushnell's work on the word teshuqa is unqiue in that no other Hebrew scholar in the christian world has actually done the work to confirm of deny it. Bushnell's findings are fiarly conclusive, but there is a real posity of scholarly work either way. Be that as it may, she shows that the word was used to mean turning in the earilest examples we have of its use, but over time, due to the influence of the Babylonian Talmud the word came to be understood as meaning to desire. After that point Rabbinical authorities begane to teach that sexual desire for the husband was the curse on woman from the fall which puts women under the thumb of men.

The Religious A priori